Technically, the Whitinsville golf club is not located on Cape Cod. It sits to the northwest, about two hours, but it was on the way from home, so it makes the list. Whitinsville is located in its eponymous town and is a scant nine holes at first blush. You can learn more if you read the history page on the web site, so I won’t take up space here to detail it.
Suffice it to say that Donald Ross designed the course and the trustees and members saw fit to keep it as the original Donald planned it. You might say that Whitinsville (pronounced “White-Ins-Vill”) is a museum piece, a throwback, a step back in time. If any of that is meant to disparage, to insinuate that it’s not challenging, then you abuse the language.
Whitinsville is a challenging golf course. It is ranked as high as second-best, nine-hole course in the USA (behind only the Dunes Club in Michigan.) It features rippled fairways, viciously-sloped greens, a blind tee shot (and a bell to ring when the landing zone is clear) and variety of par. If you love par five holes, you get the only one out of the way on the inaugural hole. It’s a fun ramble, down a green-circle ski slope, past a fearsome cross bunker, alongside a stack of guardian traps on the left side, to a putting surface benched (if you’re into angular benching) into a hill top. That’s kinda the theme for the remaining 8 holes.
The par from the second tee to the club house reads 3-4-4-4-4-3-4-4, but if you misstep along the way, you’ll turn some of the 4s (and maybe one of the 3s) into a par five (winky face.) Here’s hoping you don’t. The greens will all give you a proper side to target. If you chase flags, you’ll end up with a lot of flop-shot recoveries. Along the way, you’ll question why golf courses aren’t built like this, anymore. The answer is, some are but most aren’t. Some of it has to do with available land (you can’t fake this property) and other has to do with keeping golf flat, boring and simple (to move golfers quickly around the course to the grille room.)
You should come to Whitinsville for one reason alone: to meet the most gregarious man in golf. Frankie, as he will introduce himself, could not be a more welcoming presence, He nearly ran from the pub to meet me and welcome me as an old friend…even though we had only spoken once over the phone. Frankie will shepherd you through the clubhouse and around the course; he loves Whitinsville’s every inch and makes certain that you will, too.
Whitinsville is a private club, but will make every effort to find a tee time for guests passing through the region. Visit the web site, phone the club and make a pilgrimage to this part of Massachusetts (perhaps on your way to the Cape.)